North Korea's Kim Jong Un makes second China visit for talks with Xi Jinping


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China’s Xi Jinping have held a two-day meeting this week in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian, official Chinese media reported on Tuesday.

It marks the second meeting between the two leaders in recent weeks, following Kim’s first official visit to Beijing in March, his first since taking power in 2012.

Read more: China supports North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, Xi and Kim discussed bilateral issues, with the Chinese president expressing his support of the planned talks between North Korea and the United States.

Shortly after details of the meeting, US President Donald Trump said that he himself would be holding talks with Xi later on Tuesday. Trump tweeted that they would discuss trade, an area where “good things are happening,” as well as North Korea, “where relationships and trust are building.”

Trump is also preparing for a summit with Kim, expected to take place late May or early June, although the date and time have yet to be announced.

Read more: Kim-Trump summit: is the world expecting too much from it?

North Korea’s denuclearization pledge

A series of fast developments has seen North Korea go from belligerent nuclear power, to pledging to shut down its nuclear weapons facilities.

China is North Korea’s only major ally, but relations between the two sides plummeted earlier this year as Pyongyang continued to conduct a series of nuclear missile tests. In response, Beijing enforced United Nations economic sanctions that crippled large parts of the North Korean economy.

Kim has since taken his country in a historic new direction by pledging to rebuild relations with the North’s regional neighbors, including South Korea.

Read more: Opinion: Hand in hand into no man’s land

Last month saw the leaders of North and South Korea hold a historic summit their shared border, where they vowed to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the shaky truce agreement that has left the peninsula divided since the Korean War.

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dm/kms (AP, Reuters)